We also want to keep strengthening HBCUs, which is why we’re investing $850 million in these institutions over the next 10 years. (Applause.) And as I said in February, strengthening your institutions isn’t just a task for our advisory board or for the Department of Education; it’s a job for the entire federal government. And I expect all agencies to support this mission.
Now, none of this is going to be easy. I know -- I’m sure you know that. As leaders of these institutions, you are up against enormous challenges, especially during an economic crisis like the one that we are going through. But we all have to try. We have to try. We have to remain determined. We have to persevere.
That's what the first founders of HBCUs did. They knew that even if they succeeded, that inequality would persist for a very, very long time. They knew that the barriers in our laws, the barriers in our hearts would not vanish overnight. But they also recognized a larger and distinctly American truth, and that is that the right education might one day allow us to overcome barriers, to let every child fulfill their God-given potential. They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that education means emancipation. And they recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise.